Baller: Why a decision that lasts a lifetime for students should receive more attention and assistance

Students are settling with majors they are not happy with just to make a decision.


David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan

The Pomerantz Center, which houses—amongst other offices—the University of Iowa’s Admissions Visitor’s Center, on Monday, 30 Oct., 2017 (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

Kasey Baller , Opinions Columnist

Thinking back, most can relate to the ambitious change that occurred when moving into college. You felt eager to take on the challenges of the unknown and try new things. It is a foreign experience that is difficult to fully prepare for. Going into college, I had declared a major that I knew little about.

Shortly into my first semester, I was already among the 75 percent of students who change their majors at least once before graduation. Choosing a major is literally a lifelong decision that requires planning and thought, not just looking at a list of majors and picking what seems interesting … or easy.

According to the mentor, students choose majors based on assumptions rather than what they are interested in and knowledgable about. I am indeed guilty of picking a major that I thought sounded eager and not what sounded interesting to me. It is challenging to change your major in the middle of the semester because you are no longer enrolled in classes that pertain to your major until the next semester.

RELATED: Research shows college students may be uninformed about their majors

Not only is it challenging to change your major mid-semester, but if it is something you are no longer interested in, it may be hard to keep your GPA up. Like picking your major, your GPA plays an big role in your future. Perhaps if students are required to take one full year of courses that interest them and help with the development of their interests, they would pick majors that they are more interested in. It is becoming a highly encouraged route for students to come into college undecided and pick a major their second year, as reported by the College of St. Scholastica.

By the second year of college, students have had more experience and exposure to classes that help in directing them to their passions.

My high school did the best it could to prepare students for picking the right college but did little to prepare them for picking the right major. Had the importance of picking a major been expressed in high school, I feel I would have put more thought into picking a major. At the time my main inspiration in picking a major was what my parents did for careers and what others around me picked. Obviously, this was not a serious way to go about essentially picking the rest of my life.

Because of my poor decision, I was required to keep going in courses that no longer had to do with my new major. My GPA suffered from that semester as well, because the classes were not meant for me. I was left feeling defeated and carried the fear to next semester that I would not like my new major and the same thing would happen again. This could create a motive for some to not change their major more than once and be stuck with a major they do not like yet again.

College is all about growing up, making decisions for yourself, and learning from them, but a lifelong decision such as your career can avoid being a “learning experience.” Getting to college and being unhappy with your major is the last thing you need in adapting to your new adventure.

Students and educators need to start taking and teaching the choice of a major more seriously. The effects of changing your major even once are more than many anticipate.

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